Explicit reference to the concept of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD)
within nurse education literature is scarce, impacting on the understanding of senior
lecturers; the focus of this study. There is also the absence of badly-needed
transformative educational practices to prepare and support students for current and
future decision-making and practice. The concept of ESD is based on the notion that
human behaviour, both individually and collectively, directly contributes to climate
change, which has an impact on health and well-being.
The aim of the study was to investigate the different described ways that ESD is
understood in relation to nurse education. The research question was, “what do
senior lecturers understand by the term ‘Education for Sustainable Development’
in relation to nurse education?”.
A phenomenographic, qualitative approach was adopted. Data collection was
undertaken from a sample of ten participants, utilising semi-structured interviews,
transcribed verbatim. Analysis was in accordance with the phenomenographical
approach (i.e., familiarisation, compilation, condensation, classification/grouping,
preliminary comparisons, naming of categories, contrastive comparison of each
category) and resulted in the outcome space with referential and structural aspects.
Results demonstrated relevance as the referential aspect and responsibility,
globalisation and professional leadership as the structural aspects. The findings
underpinned a proposed local framework for nurse education practice regarding
pedagogical approaches and educator ethical reflection to facilitate effective
interdisciplinary transformative educational practices and local change management
Limitations are acknowledged and these include study size, local institutional
particulars and manual analysis of the data which may have affected category
formation. Face-to-face interviews, personal and professional experiences may have
influenced participant responses.
To effect purposeful nurse education, continued dissemination and further research
should be considered by professional organisations and affected parties regarding
explicit reference to ESD.